"Superbly crafted and astonishingly powerful. . . . It will thrill readers who cherish their worn copies of To Kill A Mockingbird." --People
With a suspense, lyricism, and moral complexity that recall To Kill a Mockingbird and Presumed Innocent, this compulsively readable novel explores what happens when a woman who has devoted herself to ushering life into the world finds herself charged with responsibility in a patient's tragic death.
The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby's life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if--as Sibyl's assistant later charges--the patient wasn't already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?
As recounted by Sibyl's precocious fourteen-year-old daughter, Connie, the ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt except for the fact that all its participants are acting from the highest motives--and the defendant increasingly appears to be guilty. As Sibyl Danforth faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Chris Bohjalian's The Light in the Ruins .
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|Title of eBook: Midwives|
|Release Date: 08-13-2002|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
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Chapter OneThroughout the long summer before my mother's trial began, and then during those crisp days in the fall when her life was paraded publicly before the county-her character lynched, her wisdom impugned-I overheard much more than my parents realized, and I understood more than they would have liked.
Through the register in the floor of my bedroom I could listen to the discussions my parents would have with my mother's attorney in the den late at night, after the adults had assumed I'd been sleeping for hours. If the three of them happened to be in the suite off the kitchen my mother used as her office and examining room, perhaps searching for an old document in her records or a patient's prenatal history, I would lie on the bathroom floor above them and listen as their words traveled up to me through the holes that had been cut for the water pipes to the sink. And while I never went so far as to lift the receiver of an upstairs telephone when I heard my mother speaking on the kitchen extension, often I stepped silently down the stairs until I could hear every word that she said. I must have listened to dozens of phone conversations this way-standing completely still on the bottom step, invisible from the kitchen because the phone cord stretched barely six feet-and by the time the trial began, I believe I could have reconstructed almost exactly what the lawyer, friend, or midwife was saying at the other end of the line.
I was always an avid parent watcher, but in those months surrounding the trial I became especially fanatic. I monitored their fights, and noted how the arguments grew nasty fast under pressure; I listened to them...